Disaster Preparedness [Infographic]
While I have always been interested in disaster preparedness until I started this website, I primarily focused on my own family. But once I began researching my articles, I discovered so many interesting statistics that reinforce the importance of being prepared.
So, I decided to make this disaster preparedness infographic to share these statistics in an easy-to-understand way. I tried to choose a wide variety of statistics across many different categories. I hope to expand people’s ideas about disaster preparedness.
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The bar graph illustrates the percentage of Americans living in states with a declared national emergency since 1950. The goal is to use this historical data to highlight the potential risk of future disasters. I used the Disaster Declarations for States and Counties interactive tool available online at FEMA’s website to get the data. I cataloged a total of 4203 declared national emergencies, which I organized by state. I then correlated those with each state’s total population by using information available from the U.S. Census Bureau website.
The one exception in the bar graph is the statistic on earthquakes. For this, I used data from a 2015 report available on the U.S. Geological Survey website. This report states that, “More than 143 million Americans living in the 48 contiguous states are exposed to potentially damaging ground shaking from earthquakes.”
While the physical destruction of a natural disaster can be considerable, the financial impact can also be tremendous. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information website states that, “The U.S. has sustained 279 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2020). The total cost of these 279 events exceeds $1.825 trillion.”
According to a National Fire Protection agency report on Home Structure Fires from October 2019, there was an estimated average of 354,400 home structure fires per year between 2013-2017. The report adds that, “These fires caused an annual average of 2,620 civilian deaths; 11,220 civilian fire injuries; and $6.9 billion in direct property damage.”
The National Safety Council Injury Facts website estimates that in 2018, there were 13,500,000 auto accidents. This involved 24,100,000 vehicles with 5,700,000 injuries and 54,100 deaths.
The NSC Injury Facts website also states that, “In 2018, the U.S. experienced 167,127 preventable deaths, 46.5 million injuries, and $1,059.9 billion in costs.”
When people think about their disaster preparedness, they may not always consider financial emergencies. Job loss is an excellent example of this type of emergency. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website reports that in April of 2020, the unemployment rate reached 14.7%. This translates to a total of 23.1 million people out of work.
A Bankrate.com article from January 2020 quoted the results of their Financial Security Index survey showing that, “Just four in 10 U.S. adults (41 percent) would cover the cost of a $1,000 car repair or emergency room visit using savings. The findings echo what previous Bankrate studies and others — including the Federal Reserve and the Pew Charitable Trusts — have found about Americans’ lack of rainy-day savings.”